Awakening, Health & Fitness, Yoga

On The Hardness of Going Soft

Tim and I took a perfectly timed trip to Florida over Christmas break. We left at 5AM on Christmas day and just positively SAILED down to Destin, FL.  We were there in 15 hours, even with pee and fuel breaks.  There was NO traffic, and the time passed swiftly due to some fascinating podcasts and the audio version of Wheel of Time: Eye of the World.  We returned home on Thursday, right before Davenport got buried in about 6 inches of fluffy white stuff that was most definitely not sand.  On our way back north, we saw so many instances of cars at a standstill going south.  Sometimes it really pays to go against the grain!  😛

We had 4 full days down in Florida.  Our hotel was right on the beach, so our days consisted of waking up (without an alarm), partaking of the free hotel breakfast (the Fairfield Inn hot breakfast is really not bad!  They actually had protein options instead of just bagels, oatmeal and sugary yogurts), grabbing our gear, and heading to the beach.  We sat on the beach, read, watched the waves, actually got into the water a VERY little bit, headed to town for lunch, came back to the beach for more reading, watching, wading, then walked or drove to supper, and then tried to watch TV in the hotel (SO MANY COMMERCIALS), and then went to sleep.

It was so eye-opening how HARD it was to actually let ourselves relax though. 

Should we “make the most” of being there and DO more stuff – go stand-up paddle boarding, go hiking, check out museums, visit Seaside (the town where Truman Show was filmed), find all the best restaurants?? 

We decided that outside the door of our hotel was a gorgeous ocean with soft white, squeaky sand dissolved from quartz ages ago.  That was enough to appreciate for 4 days.

Ft. Walton Beach, Florida

While at the beach I read a really amazing book, Healing Ourselves – Biofield Science and the Future of Health.  The whole book is about our ability to heal ourselves and others via energy practices.  At face value that may sound very woo woo, but there are dozens of studies that show the healing power of our thoughts, attention, and intention (what do you think causes the placebo effect!).  Two things are very clear from the research the author relays in the book:

  1. We are all interconnected.
  2. We have so much more power to heal ourselves that when have been taught. 

I plan to dive in to the practices outlined in the book and will share with you the ones that I love.  In the meantime, to explore the concept of self-healing for yourself, you could start simply by taking a moment to notice your feet on the ground, soften up those soles, think about plugging your feet into the earth like you would plug your charger into a wall socket.  Notice the energy in your feet, calves, and upper legs.  Take a moment and ask yourself, “Who do I want to be today?”  Set that intention for the day (I prefer to write it down to make it more concrete and visible), revisit it often, and see what changes in your experience of your physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual self/layer/body.

Space to be Human Updates

  • If you were unable to make it to my Introduction to Meditation class, but you are interested in the topic, you’re in luck!  I recorded the class, and you can watch it here at your leisure.  Feedback and suggestions are much appreciated!  If this class piques your interest, and you would like help in developing a meditation practice, you can book a session with me here.
  • Did you know that the Quad Cities is hosting its very own yoga festival?? The QC YogaCon will be held March 4-6, and guess who is teaching!  Me!  I am teaching a Yoga Tune Up® class (Total Tension Tunedown) on 4/5 at 4PM.  You can find more details here.

That’s all for today, my friends!  Happy 2nd day of 2022!  Please reach out to me at heather@spaceotbehuman.life or book a session with me here if you would like to feel better in your body.

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Awakening, Health & Fitness, Yoga

On #Winning & Secret Desires

We are at the start of new year, which means it’s time to run a Lessons Learned to close out this project that is Life in 2021.  What went well?  What could we do better next time? 

What Went Well

Why should we review “What Went Well?” Oh for SO many reasons!

  • Our brains are wired for negativity, which is a helpful yet annoying survival mechanism.  We downplay our successes, and we latch on to our failures.  Does any of the following sound familiar?
    • We get our annual review.  The boss says, “You did an amazing job this year.  We love you.  You’re awesome.  Next year we would like you to show more leadership on your projects.”  What runs through your brain?  “Shit.  I’m a loser.  I should have been more assertive.  I should have worked more.  I better start looking for a different job…”  So much good feedback, yet we glom on to that little bit of feedback and use it as proof that we are a failure.
    • Here’s a personal example.  A few weeks ago, I co-presented on the topic of Emotional Intelligence for Lead(h)er.  Public speaking is a big trigger of panic for me, but by using some calming techniques and mindset work, I was able to keep my voice from shaking, I logically went through the material, and my face did not freeze into any weird contortions.  But.  Then came the Q&A.  A question popped up that did not compute in my brain.  I stumbled through some answer that I’m not sure made any sense or that even remotely addressed the question.  So – great little presentation where I actually exhibited some poise and overcame something very scary for me  – but the rest of the night I had a pit in my stomach, and my mind kept recycling the core belief, “I suck.”  Fun times!
  • We need about a 3:1 ratio of positivity to negativity to offset the negativity bias.
  • Life moves fast, and we are usually focused ever on the future.  “What do I have to do tomorrow, next week, next month to move towards my goals?”  But, Baby, look at how far you’ve come!!  You’ve grown SO much, accomplished so many of your goals, Past You would look at Current You and be like, “Daaaaammmnnn – that’s me?!”  Take some time to relish this.

What are your Wins, your Successes, your Peaks for 2021?  Don’t be shy!  Write them out.  Send them to me or share them with a friend.  Get them down on paper and DOCUMENT THEM.  Brag!  Don’t let self-judgement hold you back you in this exercise.  When it pops up, say, “Thank you, Sir, for trying to keep me safe and small, but I don’t need you right now.”  And Write.

Here are a few of the things I accomplished in 2021 that make me proud:

  • My therapy practice almost tripled.
  • I worked with a psychologist and a life coach and did a lot of work on learning how to feel what I am feeling (instead of stuffing it down to deal with “later”) and how to question the stories on constant, speedy, reflexive repeat in my head.
  • I asked and was granted a decrease in my hours at the bank, enabling me to put more time into my therapy practice.  And I was able to deal with the, “Oh God, Oh God, how am I going to have enough money?!?!” fairly well.
  • I co-presented 2 Emotional Intelligence presentations, which made me super duper DUPER nervous.  One of the worst case scenarios actually did happen during the first presentation – the network at the presentation location was down, so none of the A/V equipment worked.  We printed out the slides as a fail-safe, only to scramble madly when the network came up minutes before the presentation was scheduled to begin.  But, BIG BREATH, it all ended up totally fine.
  • I put my money where my mouth was and hired a personal trainer, and I’m getting stronger. I overcame one of my most favorite thoughts, “I’ll do it later, when I feel like it.”

What could we do better next year?

I propose a new take on this.  Instead of thinking about things that went sideways and how we could keep them on track next time.  Let’s think about what we want for next year.  What do you desire for next year?  Better yet (and thanks to my coach, Kate Reuter for this question), what do you SECRETLY desire? No one else has to know besides you and your pen and your paper.  If anything was possible, what would you desire?   

Don’t be alarmed if you try this exercise only to find out you don’t know what you want.  You might know what you DON’T want (that one is a lot easier).   Ask yourself, if you DID know what you want, what would that be?  If you are an intuitive, empathic person, chances are you are used to having your feelers attuned to what everyone around you wants.  So when you ask yourself this question, you may just get a blank stare.  But trust me.  You do know what you want.  You just need to practice asking and listening.  Again, bring self-compassion, non-judgement, and a sense of massive curiosity to this.  THERE ARE NO WRONG ANSWERS!  If you do it wrong, you’re doing it perfectly.  😛

To give credit where credit is due, I’m borrowing, mixing, and integrating the work of so many people in this post.  Here are links to my main teachers, should you care to dive into this stuff more:

The Life Coach School Podcast – How To Be Proud of Yourself

Kate Reuter Coaching

Dr. Yoga Momma – Yoga for the Mind program

Lashaun Dale

I hope you can find some time to reflect on the year and appreciate how far you’ve come!

And that is it for today.  As always, if anything I wrote piques your interest, and you want to know more, holler at me.  And if you need help with reducing pain, improving your performance, or with feeling more at home in your body, you can book with me here

Have a fabulous day!

Uncategorized

What is Neurosomatic Therapy?

You know that quote from Morpheus in the Matrix?

“Unfortunately, no one can be told what The Matrix isYou‘ll have to see it for yourself.”

That’s kinda how I feel about neurosomatic therapy. I mean, at its base, it’s a form of massage therapy. But I feel as if I have to layer on all these caveats and qualifiers, after I drop those words, “It’s a form of massage therapy,” so that people have a more realistic expectation of what treatment entails.

How about I just get started instead of wasting both of our time talking about talking about it!!

NST is a form of very targeted bodywork that is focused on bringing balance back to the body and the nervous system. Each session begins with a postural assessment during which we measure the position of many of your bones, including the bones of your head, in a few different positions (standing, seated, laying down).

We use these measurements to identify areas where the body is tilting, twisting, flexing, or extending. These measurements, along with your history and symptoms give us a good indication of what muscles, organs, or bodily systems need attention.

We’ll review the results of this assessment with you, help you understand what we think could be contributing to your pain, answer any questions, and then dive into treatment.

Treatment usually consists of very focused manual therapy (we might just work your right anterior deltoid, for example, instead of working your entire shoulder or both shoulders). We not only treat the usual suspects (upper traps, posterior neck, etc.), but we also treat muscles commonly overlooked such as the muscles on the face and head, the front of the neck, and inside the mouth, eye muscles, muscles of the hand and foot, etc. Treatment may also include joint mobilizations, breathing exercises, and treatment of your organs (heart, lungs, liver, intestines, bladder, etc.),

The work can be intense for some, as we search out specific areas (trigger points) that are not getting good blood flow. While the treatment may at times be uncomfortable, it should never be painful to the point where you are bracing against the pressure.

What can NST help with?

Headaches, migraines, tinnitus, vertigo, TMJ disorders, sinus issues, neck pain, whiplash, frozen shoulder, thoracic outlet syndrome, tennis/golfers elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain, scoliosis, low back pain, digestive issues such as IBS, painful periods, hip pain, sciatica, shin splints, foot pain, plantar fasciitis, etc.

Can NST fix me?

With NST we help you and your brain bring awareness to areas of the body that are misused, abused, or confused. This improved awareness, enhanced by expert targeted manual therapy and consciously done exercises, can help decrease pain and improve your performance. Ultimately, it’s YOU that heals YOU, by using this new-found awareness of postural patterns and habits to change how you move and interact with the world.

How long does it take to get better?

Some clients see marked improvement in their first session; however, many clients feel much better after the 4th session. Some clients see tremendous improvement after 10 sessions or so. It really depends on the severity and length of your symptoms, as well as other factors that influence your perception of pain (e.g. sleep, your thoughts about the pain, nutrition, movement, etc.)

What should I expect in a session?

During the session you could be up and down off the massage table, and you may be moving into a variety of positions (prone, supine, side-lying etc.) for treatment. To facilitate how active and varied the session can be, you will be dressed in either gym shorts (if you are a male) or a NST gown (shorts and a shirt that opens in the back) if you are a female.

Each session will begin with the postural assessment and interview. Then treatment will commence. Treatment will include education, using models or anatomy software, to help you understand what is going on in your body. You may also do some exercises, and you will likely get homework. Lasting change can only occur by repeatedly showing the brain how to access the “new normal.”

Here is a video that shows a typical NST session.

What if I have more questions?

Leave me a comment below, or contact me using the link above or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/hloyoga/.

Health & Fitness, kripalu, massage therapy, meditation, yoga nidra, somatic meditation, body-based meditation, meditation for beginners, Yoga

Hlo Heaven

Today’s post will be brief, as I’ve been procrastinating (watching Great British Baking Show, cooking food, looking at Facebook, you know 🙂 ), and I still have lots of studying to do, and Tim and I are supposed to play Jaipur too!

ANYWAY,  I wanted to let you know about an exciting development.  We are bringing The Roll Model® Method Teacher Trainings to the Center for Neurosomatic Studies! I cannot convey how excited I am about this.  The whole reason I found out about neurosomatic therapy is because a Yoga Tune Up® teacher took her son to an NST therapist and was blown away by the treatment. She commented on it  on the YTU Teachers Facebook page. I was in the middle of trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life (I wanted to help people in the health/wellness arena, but did not want to go back to school for 6 more years and spend $100,000 on tuition). Her post sparked my interest, and upon Googling, I found  my school.  And here we are, about 2 years later, and I am on the cusp of graduating from CNS!

Anyway, back to my original point, in school we are taught how invaluable it is to give patients “homework.” It’s vital to help remodel their bodies, and it also helps them realize they have an internal locus of control. Their therapist/doctor is not responsible for their health, the patient himself/herself is!  The self-massage that is taught in Yoga Tune Up® is a perfect compliment to the work we do in NST.  This has become abundantly clear to me as I’ve progressed through the program, so much so, that I thought, “We HAVE to bring a YTU training to this school!”

I talked to my teacher, mentor, and school-owner, Randy, and he readily agreed.  And my dream is coming to fruition!  In March, we will offer both of The Roll Model® Method Trainings at CNS!  One of my teachers from my Yoga Tune Up ® Level 1 training is going to teach the class.  She  made a huge impact on me during the Level 1. I remember telling her, “I’m just a part-time yoga teacher. I just do this on the side…”  And she called me out on minimizing myself and my skills, and it solidly hit home!  The fact that this super-talented, intelligent, gifted woman thought I had something real to offer to people gave me a whole new perspective on what was possible!  And she is the person who will be teaching this class.  🙂

Here are the links to the classes:

The Roll Model® Method – The Science of Rolling

The Roll Model® Method – Ball Sequencing & Innovation

If you are at all interested in learning some easy-to-use self-massage techniques for yourself or your clients/patients, I cannot recommend this training highly enough. I would so love to see you there!

Hope you are having a great Sunday!

 

 



 

 

Health & Fitness, massage therapy, Uncategorized, Yoga

Adding Adductors to your Body Body of Knowledge

Yes.  I purposefully tried to make the title of this blog as confusing as possible.  Why?  Does it mean I’m not a good writer?  Does it mean I don’t care about the edification of my readers?  Does it mean my brain finds pleasure in confusing word play that takes a couple of moments to figure out?  Because, No, No, and Yes. 🙂

So, Adductors.  If you are like me, you probably have only ever heard of adductors as a glump of muscles that get “stretched” in wide-legged yoga poses like prasarita padattonasana (wide-legged forward fold). Before starting school at the Center for Neurosomatic Studies (CNS), I had only a vague notion of some muscles in my inner thigh that were super tight, and which did not allow me to do wide-legged poses without getting a cramp in my butt.  Thank you, CNS, for helping me understand with specificity what these muscles are.

Your adductors are made up of several different muscles that connect from the lower portion of your pelvis to the back side of the long bone of your thigh (the femur).  I realize the pelvis can be a bit of mystery as well, so here is brief overview of the points we need to know about.  The pubis is the bone on the front of your pelvis.  If you are like me, you often accidentally ram this into countertops/tables, and it hurts like a mother.

Directly underneath the pubis is the ischium.  Sit on your hands.  Go ahead – it’s okay.  Sit on your hands.  You feel those bones pressing into your hands?  Those are your ischiums (commonly called “sit bones”).  The pubis and the ischium are the superior (aka “upper” or “northern”) attachment points for the adductors, as you can see in the drawing below (which is a view of the pelvis from the front).  Disclaimer:  these are drawings I did quickly for my own personal study aids, so they are not 100% accurate.  They’ll give you a gist of the anatomy, however. You can click on the pictures to make them bigger.

The adductors are made up of the Pectineus, Adductor Longus, Gracilis, Adductor Brevis, and Adductor Magnus muscles.  You can see the specific attachment points in the illustration below. (Please note that my anatomy text led me astray in regards to the attachments of Gracilis and Adductor Longus.  They should actually be flipped).


From the pelvis, the adductors travel at an angle to connect to the back of the femur, as you can see in the illustration below.  I used to think that the back of the thigh was made up of just the hamstrings.  But there is a lot going on back there! All the adductors connect there, as well as many of the quadriceps.


Why are the adductors important?  For SO many reasons!  They have trigger points that can present as pain in the front and inside of the thigh and in the genitals and rectum.  They can cause the sacrum to tilt, which forms an uneven base for the spine, resulting in a functional scoliosis.  Also, the adductor magnus can pinch the greater saphenous nerve, causing the knee to collapse while walking.

At CNS we learn how to treat the adductors, which can relieve the symptoms described above.  But sometimes releasing a muscle is not what it needs. Sometimes it needs to be stronger.  Weak muscles can contribute to pain, just like over-active muscles can.  I love the Adductor Slides Yoga Tune Up® pose; it helps you tune in to your adductors and strengthen them in a fun and slightly excruciating way.  Here is a demo from Trina Altman.

Well, I hope you learned a little something about your body today. If you try the adductors slides, let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading today!

 

 

 

 

Health & Fitness, meditation, yoga nidra, somatic meditation, body-based meditation, meditation for beginners, Uncategorized, Yoga

After further thought…

My students Thursday night asked me a couple of questions that I was not really prepared to answer.  I tossed out the first thing that came to the top of my head, but after further reflection, I have more to add. It takes awhile for my brain to get into gear!

Question 1:  What is the biggest change I have noticed with doing yoga regularly?

This one caused a rush of conflicting thoughts in my head, even though it seems like a simple question.  A lot of this tumult of thought circled around, “I don’t actually DO yoga regularly!”  I have a varied movement practice – I jog a couple of days a week, I lift a couple of days a week, I attend a yoga class once every couple of weeks, I do one of Jill Miller’s videos once or twice a week.

I’m conflicted about even calling myself a yoga teacher, in point of fact, because I feel as if it can give people the impression that I practice 6 days a week for 90 minutes everyday, and I can do handstands and splits and crazy binds.  I can’t do any of that stuff, so I don’t teach any of that stuff.  I help people understand their bodies better with the aid of the Yoga Tune Up® balls and mindful mobility and strengthening work.  We crawl, we swing, we roll, we look at pictures of muscles in books.  Is that “yoga”?  Technically yes (as I understand it), but I fear it’s not what people typically consider yoga to be.

So once all of that darted through my head, I settled back on the question – what is the biggest chance I have noticed?  I told the class that after taking the YTU Level 1 training, I noticed that I felt myself stacked over my feet better – like I wasn’t leaning forward all the time.  That was the biggest change for me.

And that is true, but, upon reflection, what I have really noticed from my mindful movement practices is that I have more Awareness now.  I notice when my shoulders start to creep up around my ears, I notice when I start breathing shallowly, I notice when random parts of my body tense up (like my hands or my belly), I notice (with a slight bit of detachment) when I feel annoyed or angry, I notice when my mind is going a million miles per minute.  Sometimes I just notice these things. Sometimes I notice them and then try to change them – I will stretch, or roll on the balls, or reflect on whether it’s worth it to get angry about this situation.  That Awareness is what I have noticed most from doing yoga.

Question 2:  Does it ever get better, or do you have to constantly work at it (re: muscle tightness)?

My answer to this was, you really do need to keep working at it.  You can’t just roll and relax and be done with it.  You need a relaxation maintenance package. 🙂

And that is true!  But what I forgot to mention was that if you change your habits (especially postural habits), you can start to alleviate tension all over the body.  For example, if you stack your ears over your shoulders, it releases strain in the back of the neck, the back of the head, the tops of the shoulders, and the jaw.

So, while you still should continue to move your body as much as possible (whether in “yoga” or some other mindful movement practice), if you move your body BETTER and use Awareness to re-position yourself in a joint-stacked position, you will over time reduce pain and tension in the body.  Instead of trying to fit another exercise class into your day to keep yourself supple, you can continuously adjust yourself as you are walking, reading, doing the dishes, working at your computer.  As Katy Bowman always says, Stack Your Life!  Improve your mobility while doing the other things in life you have to do.

I’m still not sure that fully answers both questions, but if I wait until I have a perfect answer, I will never get this posted!

Hope you are having a great Memorial Day weekend and that you can get out outside, put your toes in the grass, laugh with your friends and family, and eat delicious food!

 

Uncategorized

On Trying New Things

It’s been an absolutely bonkers-good weekend.  I’m going to tell you all about it, so I hope you want to hear it. 🙂

It started off by taking Friday off and going to a WATERPARK!! Yes, I am 38 years old, and yes, I arranged for a group of adults to go to a waterpark with absolutely no children. It was just grown adults, enjoying the sun, the slides, and the joyful vibes.  It was super, duper fun. It reminded me so much of going to our local waterpark, Wacky Waters, when we were younger.  The park was even playing music from the 90s.

Saturday started off well as well with beautiful, fall-ish weather. We took advantage of the weather and did a quick 16 mile bike ride in the morning. On Friday morning, I had taken my Luna sandals out for a quick jog/sprint session, and I think the sprints totally increased my aerobic capacity!  We did the 16 mile ride very fast, and I even got Queen of the Mountain on Main Street Hill, which means I’m the fastest girl up that hill.  And I HATE hills!  But I power boosted right up that one.  ALL HAIL QUEEN OF THE MOUNTAIN.

Saturday afternoon Mom and I did our first joint venture – Relax, Renew, and Brew.  It was hosted by an awesome micro-brewery in Rock Island, IL, Radicle Effect Brewerks.  They reserved their whole back room for us and even brought in snacks and offered us drink specials.

I opened the class with a 3o minute mostly-seated yoga sequence.  I did a bunch of reading on asanas that enhance creativity. I found that the sacral chakra is the root of creativity, so postures that work your center are supposed to raise the vibration of that chakra.  I started with a creativity intention-setting mediation and then moved into some postures.  We did some seated torso rotations, seated pigeon, and then moved to standing postures where we did some wrist therapy (to loosen up our wrists for the subsequent painting extravaganza).  Once standing we also did some hip circles (which looked as if we were hula hooping with invisible hula hoops), and then we did a visualization where we place our hands right below our belly button and envision bright orange light emanating from our hands.

Once the yoga was finished we moved right into the painting portion of the class, taught by Mom. She taught people how to paint circular designs on rocks, using a series of circles or dots. Maybe it was Mom’s excellent teaching, or maybe it was my excellent yoga-ing, but everyone’s rocks turned out really beautiful and individualistic. Not one stone looked like another, but they were all beautiful.

It was so much fun working with my mom and hanging out with friends and loved ones, creating some artwork and having good conversation.

And today was just a good.  A friend of mine introduced me to a friend of hers who is also a yoga teacher.  This friend, Emilene, practices a version of yoga called Adamantine. With this type of yoga, you practice a series of 20 postures with a specific breath count.  The sequence is meant to be done first thing in the morning Monday – Saturday.  Emilene was kind enough to introduce me to the sequence and to share her book with me. I’m super jazzed to try it.  I don’t have time to drive to Moline for yoga every day, so I really need to practice at home. However, when I have to consciously focus on what asana to do next, it makes the practice much less meditative for me.  So I really like the idea of doing the same thing every day and just perfecting each pose daily.  I’m excited to learn more about it.

After meeting with Emilene, Tim and I took advantage of yet another gorgeous day and went disc golfing. We had SUCH a great time.  Despite the blusteriness of the day, we both played well.  It was super nice to be outside, walking on the grass, enjoying the late-summer sunshine.

And let me just give a shout out to my Luna sandals.  They make me so happy!  I love feeling the grass between my toes, and they make running so much more enjoyable. I run on the grass next to the bike path. I enjoy feeling the unevenness of the Earth beneath my feet.  They are great just for walks and casual wearing too. My feet are getting tan, and they really enjoy being able to breathe more. They told me so.

We tied up the day with an excellent home-cooked meal of sweet fire pork chops, baked kale chips (coated with parmesan and nutritional yeast), and grilled red size B potatoes.  And now we are sitting out in the back yard – me wrapped in the blanket my mom made me 30+ years ago, writing a blog post, and Tim reading the Mistborn Triology and cuddling with Lucent. Life is good.

Health & Fitness

Cities, Sandals, and Self Confidence

Wow. That’s a lot of topics to cover in a blog post, especially since all of us have no attention span anymore due to the being constantly overstimulated. I will try to just hit the highlights. I really need to start writing more so that I don’t need to cover a novel’s worth of updates in each post.

1.  Cities.  We just returned from a 5-day epic journey to NYC.  We drove the Fusion out on Wednesday and returned on Sunday.  We brought along our Supremely Ancient Chihuahua, Lucent. It definitely made the trip more cumbersome, but it had its upsides too.  Because L has to pee about every 75 minutes, we were forced to take frequent breaks. This is bad for making good time, but good for blood flow.  Getting out of the car and stretching legs is definitely a healthier way to travel for 17 hours.

Also, having L in the car made me more appreciative of the times where L ISN’T in the car.  Despite weighing about 7 lbs, he could rival a 150 lb beast in the stench department. He is one smelly monster.  We could tell whenever he woke up from a nap because the whole car would be pervaded by the rankness of his maw.  When he was younger, we would get his teeth cleaned regularly which really helped the smell. He is so frail now though that he wouldn’t survive the procedure.  Whew.  So smelly.

NYC was just as I remembered – lots of gum-pocked sidewalks, inconsiderate drivers, and garbage skittering everywhere, mixed with delicious food, friendly locals, and gorgeous beaches and hiking trails.  NY is a mixed bag.

We had a great time though since we got to see our family, meet the friends of our family, and spend some time outside on the beach and in the hills above the Hudson.  But, man oh man, were Tim and I ever so happy to roll back into green Iowa again.  Our house seems so cozy and luxurious now!

2. Sandals. I finally bought a pair of barefoot running sandals – Lunas.  I’ve been reading lately that flip flops are really bad for your calves and low back (you need a strap around the heel to prevent shortening of the achilles tendon), so I wanted to find some sandals for the summer that I could also run in. I have barefoot Merrels that I love, but my feet, even without wearing socks, still get super hot in them.  I heard of these sandals via Born to Run and also a trail running group I belong to on FB.

I got them 2 days before our trip, so I broke them in in the City.  Despite walking and/or biking for several miles each day of our trip, they held up REALLY well.  My feet did not get any more sore than they do in regular shoes, and they stayed a lot more comfortable temp-wise.

Today I added the optional ankle strap and took them out for a 3 mile run on the grass next to the Duck Creek Bike Path.  I LOVED them.  It’s so pleasant to feel the grass slipping between your cool toes as you run over the Earth.  My only struggle is that my feet make a really loud slapping sound on the concrete. I think I need to work on my barefoot running form.  I think I need to run more on the balls of my feet instead of slapping down from the heel.

3.  Self-Confidence.  I’ve been teaching yoga now twice/week for about 4 weeks.  As I’ve mentioned, I always really enjoy my Wednesday 5:30AM class.  I just feel more comfortable and relaxed than I do on Monday nights. Plus, the class is 15 minutes shorter, so I have fewer asanas to conjure up.

I think a huge part of it is that my Wednesday morning class is more interactive.  We chat more, and the students smile at me more.  I’ve found that if I don’t get a lot of positive feedback from the people in my class, I feel as if I’ve taught a boring class.  I feel that way even knowing that often times people enjoy the class – they are just focused on getting packed up and back home as soon as possible.

I’m hoping that with more practice, I will gain confidence in my ability to teach a good class. I want to always enjoy the class without needing everyone to say, “Great class!” when they leave.

I also am concerned about my ability to keep my classes fresh because there are only so many postures that I can do (and therefore that I feel comfortable teaching).  My  current playbook is pretty skimpy right now.  I bought one of Sadie Nardini’s teaching programs, and I need to make the time to start watching that so that I can continue to bring something fresh and interesting to each class.

Oddly, I also feel my confidence zapped when I attend a class taught by one of my fellow YTTers.  They are SUCH good teachers!! I am so impressed with them and feel as if there is no way my class can be that good.  Why can’t I just be appreciative of their talents without feeling as if it diminishes mine??  I obviously have some work to do on my ego!

And there you go.  That’s my update.  I hope you are having a fabulous summer – getting outside, riding your bike, taking some runs, spending time with friends and family, traveling to new places, eating delicious food.  Take care, and thank you for reading!!

Uncategorized

Yoga Practice Class #2

I taught my second community (aka free) class at Indigo on 5/20.  Here are my notes for the class, so you can get a general idea of what I covered.

Calming, evening class

Sorry for the poor quality of the picture, but if I wait to get a better scan, I’ll never end up making this post. 🙂

I wanted to design a class that would be relaxing, help people to sleep well, and that would target some common areas of pain for people – shoulders & wrists.  I think that’s probably too many things to focus on in one class, but I’m new and learning, so why not try it and see if it works, right?  Right??

I started out the class the same way that Max Strom started out our day-long intensive at the Dubuque Yoga Fest – with chest breathing in the easy-cross-leg position, a gentle twist, and then chest breathing in horse stance.  I made some (what I considered to be) hilarious quip about horse stance being named such because it looks as if you are riding a horse.  The class indulgently smiled at me.  Yoga students are so nice.

I did far fewer sun salutations than I did during my first class. I filled the void with more therapeutic moves – wrist stretches, twists, lots of child’s poses. I also kept reminding people to relax their faces – especially the furrow between the eyes (my furrow is over-developed and needs massive amounts of work!). I also encouraged them to put that slight Mona Lisa smile on their face.

Then I closed the class with a gratitude meditation. I encouraged people to think about someone indispensable to their joy and happiness.  I asked them to steep their bodies in that positive emotion during the 5-7 minute savasana.  As savasana wound down, I walked around and put a little card on everyone’s mat.  I spent 5 minutes that morning cutting up watercolor paper and writing “GRATITUDE” on the slips of paper in purple ink. Next to the word, I drew a little smiley face. 🙂  When I closed the class, I told them they could take the cards as a reminder to focus on the things they are grateful and to keep smiling.

I stole/borrowed that idea from Sadie Nardini.  She said she gave Hersey’s Kisses or other little treats to her students to show how appreciative she was that they came to her class and enabled her to live her dream. I really liked that idea.  Plus I have  shit ton of art supplies because, you know, some day I’m going to become an artist.  This was a good reason to use some of them up.

The class of 14 was over 30% filled with my friends and loved-ones, which really helped keep me calm.  But even people who are not beholden to love and support me really seemed to enjoy the class.  As people were walking out, everyone was smiling and chatting.  It made me SO happy that I was able to help a few people become a little happier for an evening.

So, again, I totally loved teaching again.  Shannon said something today that really rang true to me. He said that teaching is a meditation. And I can totally see that. You can’t focus on anything else. You need to stay in the moment and focused.

My next community class isn’t until 6/17, but on the 11th I’m teaching a group of friends after work, and then in late June I’m teaching a lunchtime yoga class at work. I’ve received clearance from HR to officially teach a class at work, but I’m doing a practice session with my close work-friends first. If that goes well, I’ll send an invite out to our whole branch and see who shows up.  I’m really nervous about that one though – teaching yoga to people I kind of know and who I want to think well of me is intimidating!  All these people know the work/Project Manager/Business Analyst -Heather. Not the yoga-Heather who measures chakras and has been annoying all her office-mates with YTT news over the past 6 months.

Speaking of which, YTT is drawing to a close. Our last day together is the 17th. I am SO SAD it’s ending.  But I’m so happy I experienced it.  I am so happy I signed up for this class.

Well, that’s it for the night. It’s time for me to crash.  As always, thank you for reading! If you’re a fellow yoga-lover or teacher, please let me know what you love and/or hate in classes that you take or teach.

Take care!

Health & Fitness, Uncategorized, Yoga

The sickness of busyness

Ugh – boy do I have it.  Life lately has been rather insane.  Mostly it’s insane with good stuff – yoga teacher training, the yoga festival, meeting friends for supper, visiting the parents, doing yoga observation hours, exercising, reading, making water kefir, cooking, working on the garden, planting flowers. These are all things I love to do, but Jesus Christ, it all takes so much time!

And there is so much more that I WANT to do. So many more books to read, things to paint or draw, blankets and coozies to crochet, walks to take, podcasts to listen to, friends to keep in touch with, writing to do.  But I just don’t have time.  I really need to just quit my job.  That’s the only way to get my life back in balance again. 🙂  But, unfortunately, I don’t think that can happen any time soon.  There are too many classes I want to take, too many yoga clothes I want to buy, and too much eating out that I want to do.  Hopefully yoga will help me reign in all these wants, and I will eventually find that I have just enough hours in the day to accomplish everything that I need to do to make me happy.

ANYWAY, had another great day at YTT today.  We learned how to teach a stress management class that you can do in a corporate setting.  This is something that I am very interested in, since it’s the world I live in every day. I’m surrounded by people who are even more busy and more stressed out than I am, and I would love to get them a little relief.  These people SOOOOO need yoga. Well, everyone needs yoga, but these people that I care about and work with daily would be so much happier with some yoga in their lives.  I’m going to ask HR if I can do some free 30 minute lunch hour sessions. It will help me get my practice hours, and it will also help me gauge the level of interest at the bank for these kinds of things in the future.

The rest of the day was spent learning about how to use the wall to teach people correct alignment in asanas, learning about adjustments for certain postures, and in doing some practice teaching.  Oh, and in getting free strawberry plants, sugar cookies cut out in asana shapes, and handmade chapstick.  Awesome. This is the kind of people we have in our YTT group.

But now I am severely beat.  Severely. I ran this morning for 3 miles, which I used to do with regularity and almost without effect. However, I don’t run as much as I used to due to the aforementioned disease of business.  So when I do run, crap, am I ever beat afterwards!

Anyway, I hope you are having an excellent weekend!  Tell me, if the company you worked for offered free lunch-time yoga classes, would you go?  And if so, what would you want to learn/do??